By DINAH CHIFALU, The Standard
Lamu County residents have called upon the Government to suspend the Lamu Port Project.
Members drawn from the civil society led by Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) and Coast Peoples’ Forum petitioned President Mwai Kibaki to suspend the project until the locals demands are met.
Muhuri Executive Director Hussein Khalid said he supports the project but that there is no way it would commence if the needs of Lamu people are neglected.
“We call on President Mwai Kibaki to suspend the project for a while and come up with solutions to the massive problems faced by the locals,” said Mr Khalid.
He said the Government should consider some of the locals’ culture.
“While the authorities are in a position to deal with these issues, they have continued to ignore the cries of the people and as a result discriminate coastal communities,” he added.
The two groups said Lamu residents have not been given adequate information and resources to cope with the impact of the project.
Unconstitutional land allocation
The residents demanded that the irregular, unlawful and unconstitutional land allocation be solved immediately, arguing that they were the ones bearing the brunt.
“As a people, the locals do not own title deeds to their ancestral lands while within the same localities, persons from other communities who came to the area a few decades ago hold titles to parcels of the same land,” he stated.
Khalid expressed concerns that if the needs of the locals are not addressed, it would result to misunderstanding between the locals and the investors working in the area.erstanding between the locals and the investors working in the area.